In terms of the on-ice product over the last two games, there was not much more you could ask for with the Blues. In terms of the after-affects of certain things, the games would be harder to have gone worse.
The St. Louis Blues took on a couple opponents over the weekend that, on paper, should not have provided much opposition. However, games are not played on paper, as we saw on Sunday.
Apologies for mushing these two together. However, to twist a phrase from Jurassic Park, life got in the way.
Overall, the Blues got done what they needed to get done. On the bad side, it cost quite a heavy price. It was not too much to pay for those wins, but perhaps it could be over the course of the season.
From the perspective of these games alone, we saw just about every good thing you could from the Blues. Of course, it’s never perfect and we saw plenty of things that could have gone better.
Plenty to discuss here, so let’s get into the pros and cons of the Blues against both Detroit and Buffalo.
The Blues won both games.
One game was almost an embarrassment of riches. The other was more of a fight than it had any reason being.
Interestingly enough, it went the opposite of the way you’d expect. The Red Wings had been playing quite well of late and are, overall, the better opponent.
For whatever reason, the Blues dominated. They scored their first four goals of the game before they even had 10 shots on goal. They ended with six goals overall.
Against Buffalo, things went smoothly to start and not so much at the end. St. Louis controlled the first two periods for the most part. They then let the Sabres have too much momentum in the third and tie the game.
Fortunately, the Blues have Vladimir Tarasenko. He ended the game just barely before going to shootout.
The Blues lost two key players.
Clearly the biggest story of the weekend, apart from the wins, was the loss of two key players. St. Louis will be without Jaden Schwartz for six weeks. Alex Pietrangelo is day-to-day, but also missed the Buffalo game and perhaps more.
We already discussed the potential ramifications of these injuries. It’s not something the Blues want to have to keep dealing with though, even though they have done well in spite of it.
Fortunately, the Blues managed to win against Buffalo, knowing they would not have those guys. They were doing well enough prior to all the injuries to still expect a win against Detroit.
Still, losing your captain and the guy who led the team in scoring much of the season takes some luster off the wins.
The top guys continued to do their thing.
Brayden Schenn had two goals over the last two days. Tarasenko scored the game winner against Buffalo. Schwartz, Paul Stastny and Vladimir Sobotka put one in the net.
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These are the things you want from your best players. You want them leading the team and helping out in the most noticeable ways.
Clearly, there are other facets of the game they must excel in as well. However, fans love goals and you do have to outscore your opponent.
Having your top guys lend a hand in that aspect is just what the doctor ordered.
The power play is just atrocious.
We can try to look for the good in each situation. We can attempt to see past all the bad things. Eventually, you have to just say what is what. The Blues power play is just bad right now.
We’ve seen much worse. There have been times when they cannot even enter the zone.
The ineffectiveness is just amazing though. The Blues went 0-6 over the last two games.
The Blues score a goal here or there to get us hopeful. Then they have games like the last two that just crush it.
There is just way too much passing and looking for the next guy to do something. When they do shoot, they either miss entirely or do not have enough traffic in front to be effective.
We keep saying they have to improve, but even though the year is still young, it might be too late to expect that.
Jake Allen stood tall and kept going.
With Carter Hutton out, the Blues were apparently not comfortable yet giving Ville Husso a game. So, Allen had to play both games of a back-to-back.
We are not going to gloss over the issues. Allen could have done much better in the Buffalo game and overplayed one of their goals.
Still, for two games he was very good. He deserved a shutout in the Detroit game since he kept the Red Wings off the board while they were throwing everything on goal.
Allen turned away 50 of 53 shots over the two games. That’s a .943 save percentage, which is pretty good.
Back on top.
The Blues lost some great players, which is something they will have to continue to overcome. For these two games though, they won and are now back on top of the Western Conference.
You can’t ignore the miscues. Allen could have done a little better and the defense left a lot to be desired at different times of each game. However, when you win and overcome odds and the human nature of using those injuries as an excuse, then it can only be seen as a net positive.